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I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for allowing my staff and me to come into your high

schools, recruit your players and share ideas with you. I am forever grateful for the access and opportunity you’ve offered me over the last four years. Other than going to practice every day and being on the field with my players, the one thing I am going to miss the most is visiting with high school coaches, listening to you talk about your kids and your programs, and watching practices and offseason workouts. Since this will be my last letter to high school coaches, besides thanking you for the opportunities to visit with you, I wanted to share with you some of the things I learned over the years that might be of help to you down the road. Sometimes I think as football coaches we are so competitive we are reluctant to share ideas. This profession has been good to me. I believe giving back when you can is important. These are my ideas - not suggesting they are for you. They are some of the things I came away with. I. Core Values If a player learns anything from me, he’ll learn that you have specific core values to live his life. These ‘core values’ are his guiding light in the decisions he makes not just as a football player, but as a man. Our ‘core values’ for our team were simple. Truth and Love. I believe these are essential elements to run a football team, a business, organization, government or family. A. Truth: Be who you say you are. Do what you say you are going to do. Be truthful to yourself and others. Be accountable. No excuses. Seek the truth. Demand the truth. Tell the truth.

As coaches we must¡¬ Never.. never lie or mislead a player. you lack a major component towards winning championships. Without relationships there is no chemistry. It’s simple. Love all things that equate to winning. You cannot fix something unless there is absolute truth. He’s got to know you will not accept dishonesty and there are consequences for not being honest. there is no value or substance to what you are doing. Love is a passion that can bring great success to your life and to your team. Without absolute truth. There is no trust when truth isn’t at the forefront. Go the Nth degree if necessary to confirm what he is telling you is true. B. He has to trust you. never let a player get away with lying to you. It is one emotion that always plays out positively. Love your teammates. Love competition and winning. coaches and school. Love your country. there is no trust. there is no relationship. If there is no trust. If there is no relationship. Love your freedom and those who protect those freedoms. If there is no truth. It is the glue for your team and . Never. there is no relationship. You have to trust him. Love: Love your God.Live the truth. Love the game of football. Love your family and friends. Without chemistry.

When I was dismissed as the HFC. Everyone is worried about selfesteem so much . I’ve said it to my wife and five kids often but it was not natural for me to say it outside that circle. (See Tom Brady . They have to feel you are going to be their coach for life. arm around the shoulder. not less. Be Harder On Your Star Players To become a great team I believe you must push your star players harder than the rest of the team. Embrace Your Players Another thing I’ve learned the past four years is that you need to physically embrace your players with a tap on the back. State Championship games. Too many people . Honesty however. They have to know where they truthfully stand and what they need to do to get better. They have to trust that you will be there for them in the long term. I have not been a "touchy feely guy" and have been a fairly private person with my words and actions.parent and friends .tell them they are all this and all that. Watching this year¡¯s Texas H. You cannot concede your principles because you know these players are the ones who will help you win games. I do believe this is the best approach. This was a great lesson I learned that will stay with me forever. Kids today have a false sense of confidence and bravado that when the first time things go bad in their lives or on the field. no one tells them what is real. this is something I’ve learned over time. IV. After disciplining a player I always would say. II." This brought great closure to me because I feel we impacted them in a positive way .S. The lesser players will respond to this in a positive way because you do not play favorites. not just until they graduate and they are done playing for you. They need to know you love them and care for them beyond just their ability as a football player. They not only need to hear your care about them but feel you care about them. must be buoyed by positive encouragement not negative criticism. People tell them they are ¡°great.even beyond the game of football. but once I began to tell players that I loved them I could see it started to make a difference in their lives. right?" Reluctantly they would agree and eventually say it back. hand shake. It took a conscious effort on my part. Be Honest But Positive One thing I’ve learned is that young men respond better to honesty than "blowing smoke" at them. they can’t handle it. I can’t tell you how many players texted me to tell me "love ya coach. "you know I love you. hug. I must admit. III. I saw a lot of this on the field and on the sidelines.perfect . A lot of my players like yours never hear that word. The star players will also benefit from this because they will not be thinking they are something they are not.promotes great chemistry. Become more demanding of them.

They won’t forget you for that. I promise you. But during the week." Compliment them on their little accomplishments. It’s what you believe and it’s what the staff and players must believe.example. Delegate to Your Assistant Coaches I believe I tried to do too much at times. but they share a locker room with every member of the team all year long. I have adamantly explained to our kids that they are "special" on Saturday when we play the game as well as when they practice and prepare to play. and ultimately. This is difficult for me since I love to coach every play. but certain issues arose that brought me back to it. Empower them whenever you can.) V. they may not all play in the game on Friday or Saturday. if you don’t have a good locker room. as long as they are working hard. Do not stray from them. I felt there were barriers between our student body and our athletes. If they earn it. Be Respectful and Positive Toward the Lesser Talented Kids in Your Program It’s not necessarily their fault they can’t play as well as you would like. These are your components that you believe are most valuable in your quest to win a Championship. VI. I felt our players had an overly high opinion of themselves but the students had a low opinion of our athletes. they are students just like everyone else and should act and engage themselves .) VII. You will have a better locker room.. They are the ones in ten years that will come back to visit their Coach. walking across campus. Be committed to them. Have Components of Championship Play Have specific components for Championship play for offense / defense / special teams. Constantly reinforce these components. If you empower them. I tried to fix every problem and player. I tried on occasion to step away. You can fix them better from this perspective as a Head Football Coach. you will have a tighter. (See the end of this letter for my components. they deserve your respect as well as respect from your entire staff. As long as they are part of the program. Break Down Barriers When I got to campus at Texas A&M. stronger team. say things like "great job by our scout team today -best in the country. You must reference them three times a week. Step back so you can be more objective about problems that arise. I think I would have been more helpful in other phases if I wasn’t so consumed. VIII. you can’t win.

the player is punished. I believe when players play for something bigger then themselves. X. but based upon accountability. We were able to include the student body and faculty in a lot of football functions. Players Have to Play for You The only way this happens is if they ultimately believe in you and trust in you. but if it happens a second time. game plans. One of our very best players talent wise was the last player drafted this past year. Peer Pressure is a Valuable Tool Although I will not throw a player under the bus publicly. He didn’t want to be that guy. but it wasn’t limited to that. XI. they player better. Stepping out of line usually revolved about class and study hall attendance.that way. The lesson I learned about battalions is that players will sometimes let themselves . As a player. Battalions One of the best things I did was break our locker room down into 6 battalions. Hold them accountable one on one and in team meetings in front of their peers. Battalions are about accountability. The seniors drafted players to their battalions (locker room section). Privately it is different. whether it be on or off the field. off season. He was embarrassed and disappointed that he was viewed this way. This helped us eliminate the barriers. Schemes. I will call him out in a team meeting when he displays behavior contrary to what we want to accomplish as a team. He had no idea his teammates viewed him this way. When a player steps out of line. there is no greater component towards winning than this. IX. Relationships with players have to be at the forefront of who you are as a coach. As long as you are consistent with this to all players. Other than pure talent. The seniors who understood the purpose of battalions drafted not based upon talent. concepts. you are accountable to yourself. The Head Football Coach has to assume all responsibility publicly for the player’s performance. philosophy and ideas mean nothing if you can’t get the players to play for you. it will be very effective. usually a difficult conditioning run. I believe we accomplished this. This is key. but you are also accountable to your battalion. Never Throw a Player Under the Bus I see this all too often at the college level. I wanted our faculty and student body to embrace our players and wanted our players to embrace them as well. It changed him instantly and dramatically. practice plans. XII. the entire battalion runs.

There has to be a consistent commitment to this from beginning to end of season. you fix him. Never Pass Up an Opportunity to Practice Tackling Whether in pads or in shorts. Not everyone should be the same personality or talent. but all on the same page from what you as Head Football Coach want to accomplish. your team can always practice the techniques of proper form tackling. XIII. XV. it is imperative you tell them immediately. It’s still a game of blocking and tackling. staff talent and chemistry is key. always take your time and get the right fit and what you want. bending knees and keeping eyes with a form fit can be practiced every day and in every drill. Take your time here. XVI. I talked about this weekly to coaches but I felt it was an area we could and should have been better at. you will win regardless of what scheme you run. coming to balance. You hired him. That will never change. but very few are willing to let their team mates down. you owe it to the rest of the staff and team to make a change. XIV. You are only as good as those around you. Sometimes coaches get too tied up in the scheme and they sacrifice fundamentals in the process. It carries over to the players. If you do those things well. I think it is unfair to fire someone without letting them know they are not meeting your expectations first. I tell them I will be up front and honest with them about their performance. different strengths. Sometimes players forget what got them to be the players they are. you’d better fix it. You owe him that . With pads or without . If you can’t. Fundamentals Fundamentals Fundamentals There were times this past season I felt our fundamentals were not at the level I wanted them.down. I tell the staff every pre-season what my expectations are. . I tell them if during the season I don’t like something. Breaking down. I believe you give a staff member three opportunities to fix what needs to be fixed. Hiring Staff When hiring a staff.always coach the proper angle and fit on a tackle. Dismissing a Staff Member If someone is not doing their job the way you want it done. You need different personalities. throwing and catching. Very critical to get the right fit.

It’s important to separate the professional criticism from the personal. They have to know you care about their lives outside of and after football. In season and out of season.. Take Care of the Person and the Football Player Will Come Out I tell our coaches this all the time.D. They have to know your care and are concerned about them as men first. You may like the person but you may not like how he is doing his job. Know their likes and dislikes. The players have to know you care before they will care about what you want them to do. never let it get personal. Your players are watching how you react to these situations. your own family watches you and will learn a lot about their husband and dad in these adverse situations." This is the fine line between making a tackle and not making a tackle. they can’t take that away from you. Hold true to your principles regardless of the circumstances or consequences.running toward the end zone or ¡°bursting¡± toward the end zone. We always reward/acknowledge "the Burst of the Week" whether it be in season or out of season. Never let other people define you. XVII. Be the leader you were hired to be. scoring a T. players second. Be involved in their lives. or not. Wins and losses are dictated and determined by a player’s ability and desire to show a burst. Ask questions about their families and girlfriends. When relieving someone of their duties. More Game Are Lost Than Won At times this past season. In times of adversity are you who you say you are? Anybody can make it work when you are winning and everyone is happy. he can have no qualms about the direction you eventually decide to go.. The Burst You have to coach "the burst. XX. More importantly . you must assume total responsibility for your players and coaches performance. XVIII. You and you alone define the coach and the man that you are. XIX. Never Let the Negative Criticism Get to You As Head Football Coach. I thought we might be trying to do too much. Do not let things on the outside influence you. This was always the toughest part of being a head coach. They have to know the difference between running to the ball and bursting to the ball. you must coach this. In order to handle this responsibility you must keep your head above the fray. Your obligation is to the overall team and you cannot allow poor performance keep you from getting there. If you have been up front and honest with the coach. You win . No matter what happens.

wins games.in my opinion . but would rather out coach and out play them. You want them to be aggressive. they will make plays and not turn the ball over. play with good fundamentals.games when players are comfortable and know what to do. however. the team that makes plays and creates turnovers and doesn’t give the ball away. the Head Football Coach may snap or vent or lose it to those not working toward the desired goal that week. XXI. On game day. XXII. Fanatical Effort . As the Head Football coach. Players and coaches must know that if things do not go right in preparation and practice. A. Mental Toughness . do not make the game too hard for them. Preparation time requires a different form of leadership than game time. Effective communication is the key to success.must keep his . From watching tapes of different teams and even my own. I’ve come to the conclusion that the best coaches are the one who don’t feel they have to out smart the opponent.the maximum level of strain or speed toward the successful completion of the play These are just a couple of examples but a common vocabulary on certain fundamentals is critical for the ultimate success of teaching and evaluating those fundamentals. Thinking too much can cause hesitancy. If players on offense know what to do and recognize defensive schemes. you determine how you want it defined and demand everyone use that definition. they will make plays and create turnovers. Physical Play . You do this with fundamentals. Common Language I believe it is imperative to have certain principles of the game of football defined the exact same way by all staff members. Definitions must be consistent. If players on defense know what to do and recognizes offensive schemes faster.complete the task at hand regardless of the circumstances C. the Head Football Coach . You ask ten coaches to define "physical play" you will have ten different interpretations. Leadership Different situations call for different styles of leadership. Players cannot hear the same concept defined multiple ways. Ultimately in football.finish each play in a dominant position B.

can be our downfall as well. I’m disappointed I won’t have the opportunity to finish what we started at Texas A&M. but it requires the best version of yourself. husband. Faith and family cannot take a back seat to football and winning. This concept of leadership was re-enforced on my trip to Iraq two years ago in visiting with General Odierno and others in position of leadership. Talent levels and expectations have increased dramatically. Maintaining Balance Keep everything in perspective is keeping everything in ¡°balance¡°. We had record crowds at Kyle Field this year. the better coach you will be. They understand the principles of the university. We have great kids in the program that know how to work. It’s been a hectic couple of weeks for me to say the least. and . We have come a long way in my four years here. composure. You have to have balance in your life to make it all work effectively. the more balanced you are. father and man if you do this. Graduation rates and GPAs are higher than they’ve ever been. We are evaluated publicly every Friday night or Saturday afternoon. and I say it from my own experience. Cool heads must prevail when adversity strikes. but rather those with confidence. I have made this mistake in my career at times. and direction of purpose. Make sure you keep vision on your principles. Trust me when I say this. Players (soldiers) do not and will not follow panic driven reactionary leaders. it is so easy to become consumed by it all. Do not neglect the essential elements of your life.composure and not show panic but rather calmness and direction in adverse situations. If you win a state championship but miss seeing your son dress up as Brett Favre at Halloween or see your daughter play her viola in a Christmas recital ¨C what have you gained in the long term compared to what have you lost? I do believe you can have both but it takes a conscious effort and discipline to maintain balance in your life and make it work. husbands. The pressures we impose on ourselves to be the best and to win are vastly greater than those pressures we face on the outside. XXIII. As a football coach.although if not kept in check. Our competitiveness is a great thing. Leadership does require that you be yourself and not try to be someone you are not. You will be a better coach. There have been times in my career I have lost this balance. We have kids who have core values which will not only help them be better football players but men. I believe in the foundation we have laid both on and off the field. Losing it in this situation does not necessarily create the desired result conducive to winning.

This season has been difficult because we have not been able to meet the expectations we ourselves have created with what we accomplished in the previous season. If we made those plays. ¬just enjoying the moment. as well as the cities and towns they live is huge. I feel good about that. This past season we had opportunities to do some great things . however. He is a good coach and a good man. Coaching high school football is not an easy job. Again. I believe high school football coaches are the most influential leaders of their high schools and communities. Winning and losing is a fine linewe ended up on the wrong side one too many times. Our season this year was a lot like the Houston Texans last year. With that said.wanting to relive that experience again. do not hesitate to contact me. I am ultimately responsible for that. coaching is an extremely rewarding and honorable profession. and given the opportunity. you’d be very wealthy men. We must never lose sight. Our season basically came down to 5 or 6 plays.devoid of any apprehensiveness or inhibitions. but I do remember locker rooms after we won. I want you to know I respect the work you all do with your high schools. Kevin Sumlin will do a great job as the new Head Football Coach at A&M. Their impact on not just the football players but students and administration. Of those I haven’t met. It’s meant world to me. The game of football is so special on so many fronts. however. My Dad always told me many years ago¡¬ ¡°the cream always rises to the top¡± and I still believe that I do feel the future is bright for Texas A&M Football. There is no doubt that it’s the competition week in and week out that keeps us going. In closing I want you to know that if there is ever anything I can do for any of you. I appreciate the opportunity to have met and talked with many of you. Last season we exceeded expectations with a young football team. If you all got paid by the hour. Winning is the ultimate goal and there are few things more fun than being in that locker room after a hard fought victory.fathers as well. teams and players. As the Head Coach. if you stay true to your principles.me and me alone. that with the opportunity to coach these young . however. I do believe this. you eventually will win out in the long run. we could have ended up with a 10 or 11 win season. screaming. ¬acting totally emotional and truthful. but they literally slipped through our fingers.faces of players and coaches all huddled together yelling. You’ve always been very gracious towards my staff and me and I thank you for that. I never remember scores of games. smiling and laughing.

We owe that to them regardless of their talent or ability. Where others have created disrespect. we must bring trust . there also comes the huge responsibility to make a difference in their lives. Merry Christmas. we as coaches cannot."once their coach always their coach. Here is hoping that it brings out the very best in each and every one of us all the time. We owe that to them regardless of wins and losses.men and experience victory together. Where others have created mistrust. What job could anyone of us have that does that? This game we coach not only challenges us to keep our egos in check when we win. We must never lose sight of the fact." Where others may have failed them . This "game" also has the ability to bring out the very best in us at times as well the very worst in us at times. and Happy New Year . we must support them. Best wishes for great success both on and off the field. but forces us to face our fears when we lose. we must bring respect.week in and week out. God bless . We owe that to this great game of football which constantly challenges us. Where others have let them down.